A police watchdog in New York recommends discipline for 65 NYPD officers accused of misconduct during BLM protests

A police watchdog in New York recommends discipline for 65 NYPD officers accused of misconduct during BLM protests
·3 min read
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Police are viewed outside of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Manhattan on September 10, 2015 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • An NYC police watchdog suggested disciplining 65 NYPD officers accused of misconduct during the BLM protests.

  • The New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board made the recommendations after receiving 750 complaints.

  • The NYPD will work with the CCRB "in the process of adjudicating these cases," a department spokesperson said.

A New York City police watchdog suggested discipline for 65 officers with the New York Police Department accused of misconduct committed during the Black Lives Matter protests.

The New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board made the recommendations after receiving 750 complaints "relating to the behavior of NYPD officers at the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer," according to a press release.

It has since completed 127 full investigations into the complaints, resulting in 42 substantiated claims of misconduct containing 91 allegations against 65 officers, according to the CCBR release.

"After fully investigating over a hundred cases, the CCRB continues its commitment to investigating, and when necessary, prosecuting the officers responsible for committing misconduct against New Yorkers during last year's Black Lives Matter protests," CCRB Chair Fred Davie said in a statement.

"It is important for all misconduct to be taken seriously and all officers who commit misconduct must be held accountable," Davie added.

Last summer, escalated confrontations between protesters and police authorities took place during demonstrations demanding justice for George Floyd and other Black people who were killed in police-involved incidents. Police were documented firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds of protesters and journalists.

The CCRB said it has seen "unprecedented challenges" have hindered its investigations into the complaints due to officers failing to follow protocol, including covering their names and shield. Some officers in New York appeared to cover their badges with black bands at protests, which advocates accused them of using to hide misconduct, Insider's Alex Nicoll reported at the time.

"Unfortunately, 34% of complaints could not be effectively investigated due to an inability to identify officers," the watchdog agency said in the statement. "This is a jump from an average of 10% in all CCRB cases in 2020."

An NYPD spokesperson said at the time that officers wore mourning bands to honor the officers who have died from COVID-19.

According to the CCRB, the board has particular difficulty identifying officer "due to the failure to follow proper protocols, officers covering their names and shield, officers wearing protective equipment that did not belong to them, the lack of proper use of body worn cameras, as well as incomplete and severely delayed paperwork."

Though the watchdog can make recommend discipline in light of their investigations into the complaints, the New York Police Department will work with the CCRB "in the process of adjudicating these cases," a spokesperson for the NYPD said in a statement to Insider.

The department said it has helped the CCRB in their investigations over the past 14 months by "providing hundreds of hours of body-worn-camera footage as well as thousands of pages of records."

"Police officers are entitled to due process and may choose to go forward with an administrative trial where evidence must be presented and may be challenged. These trials are open to the public," the department said. "Discipline is imposed based on a matrix of penalties that has been agreed upon between the NYPD and CCRB."

"Any discipline that results from a finding of guilt or a plea of guilty in an NYPD administrative trial will be made public in the NYPD's online discipline database," the department continued in its statement. "The NYPD has made significant strides and continues to work toward making our discipline processes transparent."

"Like any citizen, police officers should be afforded a presumption of innocence until and unless proven guilty."

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